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So it’s been 10 days, and I was all going to post this picture and be like, “well, dinners like this are pretty much the reason I haven’t had anything blogworthy to mention all week. Simple and summery and involving a lot of corn, nothing terribly new.” But then I realized I was sitting on a whole bunch of pretty photos! (It’s funny, I also swear I’ve been living off of miso soup, but it’s so perfect for end-of-term eating – quick and cheap and energy-giving for late-night drawing sessions).

Okay, okay… so at the beginning of last week I thought I’d recreate that magically fermenting sesame slaw I made before, to much success. And I managed to get a photo of it before all the colours bled and muted out, too! (and like my new bowls? I so do!)

They also came with an awesome rectangle plate that I fell in LURVE with and had to buy (so frivolous, and SO matching my grey spiral plate, it had to be done! :P)

And Pomme surprised me with freaking spring rolls! It was in thanks for her birthday dinner, and they’re pretty much my favourite food ever, I ated so many of these it’s a wonder I didn’t roll around myself afterwards, but they were sooooo good, with mango and red pepper inside and peanut dipping sauce, egads. I even bought a thing of brown rice vermicelli to make them even healthier the next time I make them (and thus even more like a perfect food).

I love summer and farmers’ markets! A big basket of random sumptuous berry-things! Plus ground cherries, teeny grapes, figs, flowers and tart little red dots-on-the-vine, all for $5. I made the oatmeal of kings from this basket.

I also made pretty awesome vanilla-vanilla cupcakes for my drawing group, ’cause waking up early on saturday to go downtown and muck around with pencils is just that much more enjoyable with frosting. :)

I love how R on the left spontaneously drew a garden, with a mole in it and everything, and a Mr. Potato head! He couldn’t remember what radish leaves looked like, and I so knew exactly, having just eaten a salad of them the night before… so houray for the new kids knowing about their foodstuffs (there were discussions on the relative frumpiness of potato leaves and how appropriate that is to their taste, hehe).

And uh… I ran out of li hing mui yesterday, so I went to chinatown and picked some up for 85 cents….. and then totally couldn’t resist buying a wack more goodies, cause that place is pretty much like my idea of culinary disneyland. This was all under $20, too! Clockwise from the left is some wakame, black rice, abalone flavoured wheat gluten in a can (can’t wait to try that one!), yuba/dried tofu skin, cornstarch, brown rice vermicelli, regular rice vermicelli, mangoes, a mysterious package of some sort of pickled vegetable for 10 cents, wonton wrappers, assorted sesame/peanut/cashew brittles, sweet pickled radish, really cheap tofu, bean sprouts, and (of course!) the li hing mui that started this whole debacle.

I had to HAD TO experiment with that yuba, so stir fry it was, and WOW is all I can say – I love this stuff! It’s so chewy and soaks up sauce like a chewy soyfood of long-pantry life and pure awesome! And for the record… pickled turnips are delicious but pretty much 92% salt, so serve with caution (or at least a lot of water).

And is this related? Oh, I dunno. Girls and bugs living in symbiotic vegan harmony sounds okay to mention! And plus one-shot zines are super cute and everyone should try their hand at making one, be it full of manifestos, sketches, goth poetry, bread recipes, or like… everything in your apartment listed alphabetically.

That, plus walking around across the city and back all day today made me totally and completely go into SANDWICH MODE. Gallery-hopping is fun but hunger-inducing, and I even took some extra detours to get the perfect soft baguette-bread to make the Vcon cornmeal-crusted tofu Po’boy and it was SO worth it. What a perfect damn sandwich, I mean seriously. Dude. DUUUUUUDE. Anything involving chipotle mayo has to be good, but this was a major synthesis of happy components making perfect lunch science in my mouth. Making this again! With even more mayo! Bwahahahahaha. So evil, yet so delicious…

I also hope next week is similarly uneventful so I’ll have nothing to post about again.
/sarcasm.

I’m thinking of making bread with sprouted wheat berries soon!

Pomme’s birthday, precious Pomme deserves a precious cake! A cake that faeries might design if they were into that sort of thing. Something deviously healthy and yet richer than sin, delicate like tea-time but exotic, too. Something refreshing that can still be cut into a nice solid “wodge” of nutty pink cream… something like a pistachio rosewater cheesecake!

I think I’ve outdone myself this time.

I’m saving this recipe for the zine, but I *can* tell you that there’s cardamom in the cream, cocoa and orange in the crust, and it’s really really impossibly easy to make (and makes a cake like no other!). Amazing straight from the freezer, like ice cream except completely unlike ice cream…

There was birthday dinner, too, which was almost equally as special as the cake, at least if you like guacamole as much as we do (which is with undue passion). A spicy papaya salsa on red leaf lettuce with a nice tender-browned brick of cumin-lime tofu, with guac on the side… heaven! (and credit where credit is due, totally inspired by susanv’s recent post).

Hurray! As of July 10th I have officially been vegan for a year! It actually feels like forever (and do I count the year I was vegan in high school?), and what a full year of crazy amazing cooking it’s been. I’ve learned so much I can hardly believe it, when all I could really make back then was paratha bread, some lasagna, and maybe a rudimentary curry or two. I wish I had pictures of the weird stuff I managed to come up with — iced guava puddings, lemon carrots, raw onion dip… haha. Oh, the long way I’ve come…

Notably – check out that tempeh bowl up there. Much improved, culinarily, and also – I got to try tempeh for the first time! I LIKE it. Pomme marinated it in some maple syrup, tamari, liquid smoke, and maybe something else drop dead yummy, and we ate it over rice with all the fixings, including nori strips, peppers, daikon, sprouts, and loads of miso-tahini dressing. Magnifique!

And it seems to be becoming a dangerous yet wildly entertaining habit for us to finish dinner and then go make dessert. Mostly for entertainment value, but also for the sugar, you know… these were an adaptation of Dreena’s oatmeal raisin cookie, with chocolate chips instead of raisins, and also cashews. Chewy, perfect… maybe even perfecter with coconut, but still – perfect.

I tried to make plum chutney! It didn’t work at all (note to self: 1 teaspoon of asafoetida is a heck of a lot for one recipe to call for), but boy were the plums pretty.

Plum carnage! So pretty. :D

And then, and then – my actual veganversarry dinner! I actually forgot what day it was, so I was just using up leftovers when I made it, but it’s definitely a testament to my year of vegan-ness that I was able to turn the odds and bobs into well executed dishes. I faked a brown rice crust with toasted sesames and coconut oil, and put into that some blended turnip, carrot, sauteed onion, garlic, kale, coconut cream, maple syrup, garam masala and a bit of lemon and it was pretty damn good!

And marinated broccoli stems (of course). Which are great because they look like flowers, feature fresh basil this time, and get even better the longer they sit in the fridge.

We had it all together with a cold vichyssoise for a nice light summer dinner.

…… and then made cookies. :D

Pomme made little chilled hermit-balls with flax and cocoa and coconut – 100% healthy and chewy and good. And they were a nice foil for….

Crispy, almond-y white sugar city! It’s Terry’s favourite almond cookie from the Veganomicon! The touch of sesame oil in these is inspired, truly. And maybe the chinese-style cookies predicted the future, because Pomme and I ended up wandering to chinatown many hours later to see if a restaurant was open at 11 (it was), if they served vegetarian (they did), and we ordered up a bit of mapo tofu.

Why oh why does mapo tofu come with floating bits of flesh in it???? :(
It was our mistake for assuming that a tofu dish from the normal side of the menu would be safe… but our server was incredibly kind and he didn’t even charge us for the won ton soup that I stupidly ordered thinking “well, it’s just dumplings, right?”.

Yeah, dumplings filled with meat. I’m obviously very good at this eating out business (d’oh!). Anyway, it was an eventful veganversarry, and when the tofu did come, oh was it jiggly and delicious! I do love a good med-firm bean curd. Maybe next veganversarry I’ll think ahead and go to a place that serves up a good hunk of tempeh. Oh, that IS a good idea! :D

It’s funny when you don’t eat during the day, how certain activities grow in fascination to replace the habit of cooking. Case in point: cat watching. Oh, Satchmo… curled up with the collected works of Lewis Carroll… so peaceful. I spent a lot of time reading over those ten days (a LOT), drawing, walking around late at night with legs that felt oddly leaden but powered by this strange eternal sense of energy. I even went to a party on the weekend stone-cold sobre, swizzled my lemonade and had a blast. Near the end there was a definite natural high going on, and I could see how people could continue for 14, 20, 40 days….

Not that I was going to. I’d have to take out real estate to manage all the recycling!

P (hereby referred to as “Pomme”) came off the fast one day before me, so we went to work together making a pottage of soup with about half a garden in it, it was the most nourishing amazing thing I’d ever seen… (turnip, celery, carrot, zucchini, sweet potato, leek, onion, cabbage, mushrooms, broccoli, tomato, green beans, wakame, brown rice and barley). It was so tempting, in fact… that 3 AM of day 11…. I crept out of bed………….. and had a bowl of it!

I know you’re supposed to wait and spend a whole day drinking orange juice to break the fast…. but I am not patient! And my trusty guts of steel worked like a charm! It was delicious, and sat perfectly. (I’m not recommending this to anyone, though – I almost ate it in the spirit of science, to see if I doubled over in crippling cramps or something equally bad, and that might still happen if your stomach is sensitive)

This is my first real meal! On day 2 of breaking the fast, I woke up to the most enticing smell ever, and Pomme had made the most perfect and delicious (and spicy!) dhal, which we had for dinner with brown rice, steamed veggies, salad, and this very cool sesame coleslaw I made weeks ago that magically started fermenting all on it’s own. I’ll have to see if I can recreate that…

And then, after dinner, because we are daredevils after all…. we made a raw pie, and (oh dear) ate the whole thing between us! Okay, I had most of it. ;)

It had a walnut/almond/cinnamon crust, and the filling was a blend of banana, cashews, mango, blueberries and maple syrup, and it was pretty amazing. Raw pies are especially fun to make because they involve using the blender a lot! And they’re easier on the post-fasting tummy, too.

So that’s pretty much it! There’s loads of other things I could talk about the fast, but it’s already kind of fading in my memory… it really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be at all. I was positive I’d give up somewhere around Day 3. I did spend Day 3 reading every dissenting opinion on the cleanse that I could find, and almost thought of stopping. But I didn’t, and I’m so glad, because the real treasure I got from it was I SUCCESSFULLY QUIT SMOKING, I’m free! There was no craving, no coughing, no weight gain, no insomnia, no irritability… it’s basically the most perfect way to quit, ever. I hope anyone who wants to quit tries this method, I can’t recommend it highly enough! And little things like pickles and curry taste like absolute heaven afterwards. :P~~~~~

(next post: my veganversary and I finally get to try tempeh!)

There’s a reason I haven’t been posting this past week… and a reason I haven’t been around to your blogs. It is a very good reason, but we’ll get to that in a moment. For now, here are the handful of beautiful things I’ve eaten recently. That salad up there was way back on Father’s Day, but it was so delicious and so lovingly assembled by my own sister that it has to get blogged. You can’t see it for all the chunky/sumptuous organic veg on top, but she bought one of those salad mixes with furry bites of mint and even flowers in it – so posh! All it needed was a squeeze of orange and some sesame oil to make it sing. And also cashews on top!

This is my Om-inspired meal. The bean salad component was actually made at 3 in the morning, the night I got in from camping. No, not shower first, oh no… beans need time to marinade of course! And then the next day I threw together this miraculous pilaf with apricots and cumin seeds that tasted WAY better than I ever could have predicted (what did I do??? It just started melting in one’s mouth!), and an addictive tahini-dressed salad with radish greens, red onions, yellow beets, parsley and cucumber.

I think the best part of this was my mother’s roommate admitting that she didn’t need to make that eggy frittata after all, it was a complete meal on it’s own. (duh!). No, actually, the best part was the leftovers…. mmmmmmm.

And this is a last meal of sorts. Pretty good for a last meal, though, eh? The sushi ginger was even the fancy kind I had stored away with shiso leaf in it, ooooooh. And it’s probably okay that we polished all this off between two people because……….

It’s MASTER CLEANSE time! – nothing but lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and mint tea for 10 whole days. Who’da thought I’d ever do it? Actually, it’s going okay. I’m on my 5th day right now, and since P and I are both doing it at the same time, it’s been really supportive and fairly easy. I’m not even light-headed anymore, and I have zero cigarette cravings. I can’t believe I used to poison myself like that, tsk… not when my skin looks this good right now! Things I have noticed, however:

* one must budget heavy-lifting/long walks in proportion to nap times
* limes are totally allowed and taste way better
* eating food seems weird to me now
* I miss alcohol and coffee, though :p
* P is crazy for wanting to do this for 14 days. It’s peach season, after all! Expect 5 more days from me and then back to wanton baking/stirring/blending/concocting of actual real FOOD, I can’t wait!